ANNADALE — The city will give out free rabies shots for dogs and cats in Staten Island on Sunday, after a record number of rabid animals were reported in the borough last year.
The city's Department of Health will give out the rabies vaccinations at Blue Heron Park on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., to safeguard the borough's four-legged friends after 49 rabid animals were found in 2013, according to the agency.
“The large number of rabies cases in our borough demonstrates the need to protect our pets,” said Borough President James Oddo in a statement. “As a dog owner, I know that our pets become part of our families. This is a great way to protect them at no cost.”
The 49 rabid animals last year was the highest number since the agency started to keep track in 1992, the department said. Throughout the borough 44 raccoons, 2 skunks, an opossum, a bat and a cat in Bloomingdale Park were found to have the virus in 2013.
The previous record was 35, and the borough has averaged roughly seven reports of rabid animals per year, the Health Department said.
To get the shot, animals need to be in good health, at least three months old, and dogs need to be licensed, the Health Department said. Unlicensed dogs can register at the event, and the city will not fine or issue late fees to owners of unregistered animals.
The Health Department said the vaccination was the best way to protect pets from getting infected with rabies, and city law requires every puppy or kitten to get their first shot between three and four months old.
The animals need to get a booster shot a year later, and then every one to four years after that, the Health Department said.